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Vol. 17 No. 40 - July 19, 2017

letters to the editor

A sense of community

I, as well as many citizens, am in support of the Holmes Beach Commission's decision relating to the Bert Harris claims and occupancy. Residents, as well as the 20 percent of the HB population that we have lost, know of the negative impacts. There is usually a strong correlation between the number of occupants and problems with noise, trash, parking, health issues in pools, disrespect for neighbors and neighborhoods. Tenants spend much of their time outside just feet from nearby residents, Unfortunately, they don't understand the impact they have on our peaceful neighborhoods.

We also know that there is often a tendency to overbook. It would not always be just plus two, as people pile in the extras that they think no one will notice. For some, it could mean another family, another car. Multiplying one property by hundreds of properties means that negative impact escalates in geometric proportions. There is massive abuse of over-occupancy; residents see it every day.

Occupancy has been long-standing in our comprehensive plan, and enforcement has come to the forefront because of the rampant abuse. It would be a slippery slope to start changing our existing regulations within the climate of our city issues; we would just be opening Pandora's box. HB Ordinances 15-12 and 16-02 were enacted to reflect the will of residents and are neither unjustified or unnecessary, but rather in response to the changing city needs.

We have seen on more than one occasion where a citizen asked for special consideration for family purposes, and then the property ended up being advertised on the internet. The city is making an effort to enforce these ordinances, which has proved to be a monumental task. It will take time to identify and bring nonconforming properties into compliance, but there is legal precedent supporting the city's stance on occupancy.

So in short, I, as well as many citizens, applaud the commission for all of its efforts to preserve the character of the Island and retain residents. We need to do all we can to promote a sense of community.

Renee Ferguson
Holmes Beach

 



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